2022-05-16 12:10Press release

A Swedish sensation in Cannes

Clockwise, left to right: Triangle of Sadness, How to Save a Dead Friend and Boy from Heaven. Photo: Plattform Produktion / Sisyfos Film / AtmoClockwise, l to r: Triangle of Sadness, How to Save a Dead Friend and Boy from Heaven. Photo: Plattform Produktion / Sisyfos Film / Atmo

This year's edition of the Cannes Film Festival features a strong Swedish line-up. Triangle of Sadness by Ruben Östlund and Boy from Heaven by Tarik Saleh both compete for the Palme d'Or, as well as Swedish co-production Holy Spider by Ali Abbasi. Also featured are documentary How to Save a Dead Friend and a host of Swedish co-productions. Moreover, the english version of the Film Institute's new report on gender equality 406 Days - It's About Time, will be launched.  Here is your guide to Swedish film at the Cannes Film Festival, which starts tomorrow.

– After three long years, the Cannes Festival is finally back in full swing. And what a year to be back! I am incredibly happy and proud to go to Cannes with no less than two Swedish films, Tarik Saleh’s Boy from Heaven and Triangle of Sadness by Ruben Östlund in Official Competition and How to Save a Dead Friend by Marusya Syroechkovskaya screening in ACID. It is an exceptional year for Swedish film, and with nine films a record year for Nordic films, says Petter Mattsson, Head of the International Department at the Swedish Film Institute.

The Swedish lineup at Cannes

Triangle of Sadness by Ruben Östlund – Competition

Writer-director Ruben Östlund, Golden Palm winner 2017 for The Square, returns to Cannes. Triangle of Sadness, Östlund’s fifth film to premiere at the festival, is an uninhibited satire where roles and class are inverted and the tawdry economic value of beauty is unveiled. Models Carl and Yaya are navigating the world of fashion while exploring the boundaries of their relationship. The couple is invited for a luxury cruise with a rogues’ gallery of super-rich passengers. At first, all appears Instagrammable. But a storm is brewing, and heavy seasickness hits the passengers. The cruise ends catastrophically. Carl and Yaya find themselves marooned on a desert island with a group of billionaires and one of the ship’s cleaners. Hierarchy is suddenly flipped upside down, as the housekeeper is the only one who knows how to fish.

The film stars Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Woody Harrelson, Zlatko Burik, Henrik Dorsin and Olivier Ford Davies. Produced by Plattform Produktion/Erik Hemmendorff, Philippe Bober in co-production with Film i Väst amongst others, and with support from the Swedish Film Institute, commissioner Anders Nylander. International sales by Coproduction Office.

Boy from Heaven by Tarik Saleh – Competition

Adam, the son of a fisherman, is offered the ultimate privilege to study at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the epicenter of power of Sunni Islam. Shortly after his arrival in Cairo, the universitys highest ranking religious leader, the Grand Imam, suddenly dies and Adam soon becomes a pawn in a ruthless power struggle between Eqypts religious and political elite.

Tarik Saleh’s The Nile Hilton Incident won the 2017 Sundance Grand Jury Prize and received five Swedish Guldbagge Awards. His new thriller Boy from Heaven stars Tawfeek Barhom as lead character Adam and Fares Fares in the other key role,  with Mehdi Dehbi, Mohammad Bakri, Makram J. Khoury and Sherwan Haji in the supporting cast, amongst others. Written and directed by Tarik Saleh, Boy from Heaven was produced by Atmo/Kristina Åberg and Fredrik Zander, in co-production with Memento Production, Bufo, Film i Väst and Sveriges Television amongst others, and with support from the Swedish Film Institute, commissioners Madeleine Ekman and Hanna Lejonqvist. Sales by Memento International.

How to Save a Dead Friend by Marusya Syroechkovskaya (ACID)

Moscow, late 00s, and it’s the two of them – Kimi and Marusya. They are young, bored, and madly in love. What could be better than first love? Only first love and heroin. At least that’s what they thought back then. A personal story of a director dedicated to her first love and death of a loved one.

Russian filmmaker Marusya Syroechkovskaya's debut documentary recently had its world premiere at Visions du Réel. The film was produced by Sisyfos Film/Mario Adamson and Docs Vostok/Ksenia Gapchenko, with support from the Swedish Film Institute, commissioner Anna Weitz. Sales by Lightdox.

Swedish co-productions

Holy Spider by Ali Abbasi – Competition

A journalist descends into the dark underbelly of the Iranian holy city of Mashhad as she investigates the serial killings of sex workers by the so called "Spider Killer", who believes he is cleansing the streets of sinners.

Filmmaker Ali Abbasi rose to international fame with Border (2018), which was awarded the Prix Un Certain Regard at Cannes. Holy Spider was written by Abbasi and Afshin Kamran Bahrami, and stars Mehdi Bajestani, Zar Amir Ebrahimi, Arash Ashtiani. Swedish co-producers are Eva Åkergren and Calle Marthin, Nordisk Film together with Film i Väst and with support from the Swedish Film Institute, former commissioner Madeleine Ekman. Sales by Wild Bunch.

R.M.N. by Cristian Mungiu – Competition

A non-judgemental analysis of the driving forces of human behaviour when confronted with the unknown, of the way we perceive the other and on how we relate to an unsettling future, from multi-award-winning director Cristian Mungiu.

Swedish co-producers: Film i Väst and Sean Wheelan/Filmgate. Sales by Wild Bunch.

Butterfly Vision by Maksym Nakonechnyi – Un Certain Regard

After months of being held prisoner by enemy forces, Lilia struggles to resume her life in Ukraine as a veteran and wife. Butterfly Vision is a harsh and surreal tale about a warrior who refuses to be a victim.

Swedish co-producer: Mario Adamson/Sisyfos Film, with support from the Swedish Film Institute, former commissioner Helen Ahlsson. Sales by Wild Bunch.

Godland by Hlynur Pálmason – Un Certain Regard

In the late 19th century, a young Danish priest travels to a remote part of Iceland to build a church and photograph its people. But the deeper he goes into the unforgiving landscape, the more he strays from his purpose, the mission and morality.

Swedish co-producers: Mimmi Spång/Garagefilm International and Film i Väst, with support from the Swedish Film Institute, former commissioner Helen Ahlsson. Sales: New Europe Film Sales.

Sick of Myself by Kristoffer Borgli – Un Certain Regard

Signe and Thomas are in an unhealthy, competitive relationship that takes a vicious turn when Thomas suddenly breaks through as a contemporary artist. In response, Signe makes a desperate attempt to regain her status by creating a new persona hell-bent on attracting attention and sympathy.

Swedish co-producers: Mimmi Spång/Garagefilm International and Film i Väst. Sales by Memento International.

More Swedes in Cannes

Director Ninja Thyberg has received the Women In Motion Young Talent Award 2022. The annual award is handed out by Kering and the programme Women In Motion, together with the Cannes Film Festival, and is given to a female film-maker who has directed her first feature film. Thyberg's debut feature Pleasure, a drama about young girl aiming to make it in the L.A. porn industry, won the Jury Prize at the Deauville Film Festival and earned Thyberg a Best Director nomination at the Independent Spirits Awards. The film recently opened in US thetares to critical acclaim. 

The award, which includes €50,000 in financial support for her next movie project, will be presented on May 22. Ninja Thyberg was chosen by last year's recipient, Australian director Shannon Murphy.

Thyberg is no stranger to the Cannes Film Festival. Her short film Pleasure received the Canal+ Award at the 2013 Critic's Week, and her feature debut, an expansion of the short also titled Pleasure, was included in the festival's Official Selection in 2020.

Noomi Rapace is a member of the Palme d’Or Jury.

Alicia Vikander stars in Irma Vep by Oliver Assayas, a new HBO series based on his own film that premiered in Un Certain Regard at the 1996 festival.

406 Days - It's About Time 

During the festival, the english version of the new report on gender equality 406 Days - It's About Time, will be launched. The report shows that the average female-led fiction feature spends over one year longer in development than projects led by male filmmakers.

The event will be introduced by Anette Novak, the new CEO of the Swedish Film Institute. Anna Hallberg, Minister for Foreign Trade and Nordic Affairs will present the Swedish government’s vision for the creative industries.

An international panel will discuss strategies and tools for creating equity and equality in film production the post-pandemic film industry, and look at ways to close the gender gap.

Dame Heather Rabbatts, CBE, Chair, TIME’S UP UK
Helene Granqvist, President, Women in Film and Television International
Helge Albers, CEO, MOIN Film Fund Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein
Magdalena Jangard, Head of Production Funding, the Swedish Film Institute

Moderator: Petra Kauraisa

The event is hosted by the Swedish Film Institute with support from the Marché du Film.

Read more about the Swedish Cannes line-up in the brand-new Swedish Film Catalogue.

Meet our International Department in Cannes.

Topics: Cannes

About The Swedish Film Institute

The Swedish Film Institute is a collective voice for film in Sweden, and a meeting-place for experiences and insights that elevate film on all levels. We preserve and make available Sweden’s film heritage, work to educate children and young people in film and moving images, support the production, distribution and screening of valuable film, and represent Swedish film internationally. A broad diversity of narratives establishes discussions and insights that strengthen the individual and our democracy. Together, we enable more people to create, experience and be enriched by film.


Jan Göransson
Head of Press
Jan Göransson
Per Perstrand
Communications Officer – Press
Per Perstrand